Bharathinagar (Mandya): The Arethippur Jain Shrine here in Maddur taluk of Mandya district boasts of a Statue of Bahubali with a history of about 1,200 years much beyond to that of the one in Shravanabelagola and said to be the oldest Jain Shrine of South India. Unfortunately, many people of the district and State are unaware of this historical shrine.
Mahamasthakabhisheka will be performed on this 12 ft. tall monolithic Statue of Bahubali atop the hill from Dec. 1 to 3 and brisk preparations are on for the event where about 20 Jain Munis and thousands of pilgrims are expected to take part in the 1,008 Kalasha Mahamasthakabhisheka. This Bahubali Statue is said to have been sculpted in 843 AD while the one at Shravanabelagola in 973 AD and the latter is said to be the replica of the former.
For the first time, Mahamasthakabhisheka is being performed at Arethippur much earlier to the mega event at Shravanabelagola in February next.
The village was initially known as Arathipura which in colloquial terms gradually transformed to Arethippur. The place has many inscriptions of Cholas, Gangas and Hoysalas. The Department of Archaeology is said to have listed these inscriptions in the encyclopedia. The 24 Jain Basadis indicate the footprints of the Theerthankaras.
The rituals will commence on Dec. 1 with ‘Dwajarohana.’ The traditional Jain rituals with 24 ‘Kalasha Abhishekas’ will be performed on Dec. 2. The Mahamasthakabhisheka will commence on Dec. 3 at 10 am and all the rituals will be performed under the guidance of Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola, according to Sri Siddhantakeerthi Swamiji, Head of Digambar Jain Mutt in Arethippur.
Speaking to press persons, the Jain Muni expressed happiness that the shrine lying obscure over decades has begun to gain attention and importance, thanks to the local journalists.
The shrine is located 13 kms from Bharathinagar and 22 kms from Maddur.